It never seems to amaze me how often “conservative” politicians are willing to give your money over to corrupt corporations in the form of corporate welfare. Recently, disgraced former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Dennis Bonnen (then-state representative of Brazoria who resigned after being caught on a recording giving a quid pro quo to Texas Scorecard’s Michael Quinn Sullivan) tweeted this:
Texas better watch out because other states are offering far greater incentive packages and starting to win. We must keep being visionaries to stay on top! https://t.co/ISx3Y5ow6e
— Dennis Bonnen (@RepDennisBonnen) October 19, 2022
What he means by “incentive packages” is corporate welfare.
Many of our lawmakers are convinced that companies decide to move to Texas not because of our conservative values, but because we steal from our taxpayers to give businesses tax breaks. While we certainly do steal from taxpayers to give to wealthy corporations, this is not the reason companies have decided to move here. A 2018 study of the research literature on the effects of state and local incentives estimated that at least 75% of businesses that received incentives in the U.S. would have still opted to relocate without them.
A 2017 study of more than 80 Chapter 313 abatement recipients found that only about 15% of businesses that received such incentives would have located elsewhere without them—only 15% of those that receive money from Texas’ largest corporate welfare program even considered it to be worth it. This tells us that the vast majority of businesses are moving to Texas not because of freebies stolen from taxpayers, but rather because of our independent culture and comparatively low-regulation business environment.
Despite these statistics, current Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) has said he intends to create a new corporate welfare program even though the Texas Legislature is allowing the corrupt Chapter 313 abatement program to expire at the end of this year.
Vance Ginn, Ph.D., an economist and free-market champion, had this to say in response to Bonnen’s tweet:
🚨Best incentive package is LESS:
1) Limit state+local spending
2) Eliminate property taxes
3) Start school choice
4) Stop barriers
— Vance Ginn, Ph.D. (@VanceGinn) October 20, 2022
The answer to too much government is always less government. Taxpayers must follow Vance’s lead here. If we are ever to rein in the size and scope of government, we must reject politicians like Dennis Bonnen who advocate for the theft of Texans to fill the pockets of corporate executives and CEOs. Those lawmakers that would use the name “conservative” must be held accountable for that claim.
We will continue to make Texas great by rejecting corporate welfare in favor of small government policies. Vance’s suggestions are on point and should be the goal of the “conservative-leaning” 2023 legislative session. We must demand our lawmakers not renew corrupt programs like Chapter 313 abatements, but rather accomplish conservative goals like eliminating property taxes (which is part of TFRs Texas Prosperity Plan) and implementing an Arizona-style school choice system that would put power back in the hands of Texas parents.
As always, policies like these will not only be dependent on the lawmakers we elect, but they are dependent on citizens like you and me. TFR will be here to provide transparency and education to all Texans, as we have for more than 16 years. What will you do to make sure our elected officials are held accountable for the conservative values they campaign on?
What else can you do to get involved?
The next legislative session is set to begin in January 2023. Your elected officials need to hear from you.
Go read the Texas Prosperity Plan for yourself and voice your support for REAL property tax relief by signing up to support the TPP. You can also sign up for The Fiscal Note to stay updated on all fiscal issues that affect Texans, especially our broken property tax system. We CAN get real tax relief if we amplify our voices loudly enough.